The Acting Secretary of State to the Canadian Chargé (Beaudry)
Sir: I have the honor to refer to Mr. Massey’s notes of April 27 and May 26, 1928,66 in regard to several occasions on which stray bullets, alleged to have been fired by preventive officers of the United States Government, have landed in Canadian territory in the vicinity of the Detroit River.
A thorough investigation of the incidents mentioned in those notes has been made. From this investigation it appears evident that in Incident No. 1, mentioned in Mr. Massey’s note of May 26, the bullet which passed through the window of a house occupied by Mrs. Arthur Powers at 24 Wyandotte Street, Sandwich, Ontario, was from the revolver of an employee of this Government. In this regard it seems pertinent to mention that prior to the recent investigation of these incidents, there seemed to be a misapprehension on the part of many of the preventive officers in regard to the distance which bullets from their revolvers would carry, and, according to my information, most of the officers appeared to believe that there was no danger of bullets from their weapons carrying across the Detroit River. In the circumstances, I wish to express the regret of this Government at this incident and to assure you that steps have been taken which should preclude any repetition of such occurrences.
Incident No. 2, mentioned in Mr. Massey’s note of May 26, relates to the case of Mr. Edward Warren of Windsor, whose automobile was struck by a missile at 7 p.m. on April 21, 1928; the windshield of Mr. Warren’s car was shattered and his face was cut by fragments of [Page 100]broken glass. In the investigation which has been made of this incident, the evidence tends to show that Mr. Warren’s windshield was struck by a bullet which probably originated on the American side of the river. There appears, however, to be no evidence whatever that the bullet was fired by officers of this Government. Preventive officers of the several departments of the United States Government in the vicinity of Detroit are emphatic in their denial that any shots were fired by them at the time of this incident.
The third incident, mentioned in the note under reference, concerns a bullet or bullets which struck a metal sign beside the White Star gasoline station in Sandwich on the afternoon of April 2, 1928. The investigation of this case indicates that these bullets might have originated on either side of the river. Since the bullets were not found, and since Mr. Clifford Thomas, an employee of the White Star gas station appears to be the only person who knows anything about this incident, it was found to be virtually impossible definitely to fix the origin of these bullets.